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Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

Photo: UNHCR/Benjamin Loyseau
Ablaye Mar, an embroiderer from Sénégal, collaborates with Sabatina Leccia, a French artist and fashion designer, as part of a refugee program in France called La Fabrique Nomade. 

One of the hardest necessities facing migrants is leaving behind careers that took years to develop. That’s why a program started in France is so inspiring. La Fabrique Nomade gives one group of refugees — artisans — a chance to make a living from what they know best.

Kamilia Lahrichi and Bela Szandelszky write about the initiative for the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

“Many hands are at work in Yasir Elamine’s pottery workshop in Paris. They cut, pound, squeeze, stencil and shape. Yasir, a potter from Sudan, and his French students swap ideas and aesthetics. As a refugee, he thought his life as an artist was over. The work of La Fabrique Nomade, a UNHCR-supported NGO, helped change his mind.

“La Fabrique Nomade encourages artisans among refugee and immigrant communities to retain and pass on their traditional crafts, from weaving and embroidery to pottery and woodworking.

“The group promotes their work and showcases it at design fairs. It supports the artists themselves, helping them to make connections in the art and design scene in France. It helps equip them with basic job-seeking skills such as building a portfolio and CV.

“The founder of La Fabrique Nomade, Inès Mesmar, says the goal is not just to enable refugees to use their talents but also to share valuable skills with the local community. For refugees, she says, it is about changing attitudes, ‘to allow them to transmit their knowledge, rather than being people who just receive help and assistance.’ ”

The UNHCR story is here. Check out DW for more detail, here.

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I’ve followed countertenor Terry Barber’s Artists for a Cause for several years. He lines up musicians who, like him, believe in the importance of sometimes donating their talents to a worthy cause. I heard him perform in Rhode Island (check this 2011 post).

Lately, I stared wondering whether other sorts of artists and craftsmen were doing this sort of thing. So I Googled “crafts for a cause” and discovered that someone had used those very words to name a website:

“In 1975, Hetty Friedman first traveled to the Highlands of Guatemala to learn back strap weaving from a Mayan weaver. After that time, Guatemala entered a period of intense political unrest. Thirty two years later, Hetty was able to return. In partnership with Asociación Maya de Desarrollo, a Fair Trade Weaver’s Coop, she is designing unique woven products, training weavers and leading tours. Together they produce a line of hand dyed, hand woven items that are being marketed in the USA.”

Regarding her tours: “Adventurous travelers are provided with a unique exploration of the Guatemala Highland pueblos, Antigua, a Unesco World Heritage City, and visits to various artists and fair trade jewelry and weaving co-ops. Join Hetty on an intimate tour of Guatemala’s fabulous cultural heritage. Lots of guacamole gets eaten.

“Small group travel for women. Meet Mayan artisans, visit Antigua, a Unesco Heritage site, and travel on Lake Atitlan. Great food, wonderful hotels and good company.

“Call 617-512-5344 or email hetty.friedman@gmail.com for details. Contact us to get put on the list for 2018 travel.”

From the nonprofit that Hetty is supporting, “The objective of Asociación Maya de Desarrollo is not to just provide an income for families in post-conflict communities. Asociación Maya also aims to provide an opportunity for women harmed by the war to become leaders in the cooperative, their homes, their communities, and of the Mayan tradition.”

I am filled with admiration.

More at Hetty Friedman Designs, here.

Photo: Hetty Friedman Designs
Weaver Hetty Friedman says, “It all started at age 13 when I took a weaving class at summer camp. It was like a miracle to me.”

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The original idea when the grandchildren visited my workplace was to walk to the new Boston Public Market, but it was too far and there were so many other interesting things along the way.

We will go as a family another day, but I thought I would zip over there Thursday and take some pictures. I arrived at 8 a.m. The market is open Wednesdays to Sundays, 8 to 8, and since the activity wasn’t in full swing, it was a good time to look around.

The Boston Public Market is not as big, as noisy, or as messy as the famed Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia (and there are no Amish), but it shows real promise. Although the market was fairly quiet at 8 a.m., there was already a line at MotherJuice and George Howell’s Coffee — people getting revved up for work at Government Center and environs. At a farmstand, I bought two small squashes. Fifty cents.

The Vietnamese restaurant Bon Me had a counter, and I saw local honey, fruits, vegetables, artisan cheese, and crafts. The crafts gave me pause as the market is supposed to be mainly an outlet for regional farmers, and much as I love crafts, I have seen them overwhelm another farmers market. As long as there is a good balance, it will be fine.

Note the vegetable soft toys in the children’s play area.

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Jeremiah Gallardo, a Colorado native, clicked on yesterday’s post, and I thought I’d have a look at his blog, too.

I don’t know much about Colorado. The closest I got to knowing anything at all was having a college roommate from Boulder.

Jeremiah has a nice entry today about a German Christmas market, the Denver Christkindle Market, which he took photos of. He says it runs until December 25.

“The vendors are in little wooden houses,” he writes, “that were built days before the market event.

“My first stop at the market was the hand-blown glass vendor.  I watched him make a glass icicle decoration in a few minutes, right before my eyes. I bought a green glass pickle decoration.

“Why on earth did I buy a green glass pickle? Because it’s linked to a German tradition where you hide a pickle deep inside the tree and the first child to find it gets to open an extra gift.”

You know, if I had a glass pickle, I might just try it myself.

More about the German market’s crafts and food at Jeremiah’s blog, WhiteLiger.net. You will like his pictures. And his enthusiasm.

Photo:

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The Blackstone Parks Conservancy sent out this invitation, and we went.

“We invite you to attend the family event: Build your own Fairy House! This event was originally part of the summer series of family programs given by the Blackstone Parks Conservancy. Due to its rousing success, we are offering it again as part of Playful Providence, a citywide event organized by the Partnership for Providence Parks and the Providence Parks Department. Join us at the Field on River Road, across from the Narragansett Boat Club.”

Cardboard forms that you could fold into houses were on hand. On top you could apply a layer of something like sand-colored Play-Doh, with actual sand in it. Next you could choose from a gorgeous array of seedpods, acorns, leaves, twigs, and other fruits of nature — and stick them into the “mortar” — the way a fairy would like them — before the clay dried.

Our middle grandchild was a little young for it, but he liked running around in the park and watching the rowing lessons on the Seekonk nearby.

I would like to try fairy houses again someday soon. Just collecting the pieces of nature to be used would be fun for a child.

Read about the conservancy and future events here.

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Today’s mild weather reminds me that May Day and Mother’s Day aren’t far off. Mother’s Day is a highlight of the year at Luna & Stella, Suzanne’s lovely birthstone jewelry company, for which Suzanne’s Mom blogs.

I hope you know about May Day, too. I’d like to see it revived, the ancient custom of leaving flowers at people’s doors in honor of spring. (I don’t begrudge the workers of the world their version of May Day, but they shouldn’t hog the whole thing.)

Why don’t Girl Scout troops do May Day? Why don’t florists? It mystifies me.

I still remember a May basket I made as a kid from a punch-out book. I thought it was a thing of beauty and kept asking my mother to get me another book like that. But they stopped making them.

Now I work from scratch if I have time. Last year I blogged about one kind of a homemade basket, here.

It’s always a surprise to see what flowers are available on May 1 any given year. Since these are in my yard now, I suspect there will be different ones by  May.

small rhodadendron

blue scylla

andromeda

forsythia

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Although I’m very lucky to live in a walkable community near public transportation, if everything is closed, there’s not much point going out. At least not until the sidewalk plow guy has been around once. (He really doesn’t like people in the way when he is working.)

Might as well make Valentines. This one is a work in progress.

Making Valentines

The ones in the picture below were created by Grandson the First last week as he awaited the arrival of a new sister.

In the picture after that, a Valentine Suzanne made a couple years ago is on the left, and one I made last year is on the right.

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Valentines of the Past

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